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7 ways to cut your household bills down to size

7 ways to cut your household bills down to size

Category: Money

Updated: 03/09/2014
First Published: 03/09/2014

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Making ends meet is an ongoing challenge for a lot of households, particularly as prices seem to keep edging upwards. But even though budgets are tight, if you stay on top of things, you could well cut your bills down to size. Here are just a few ways you can do it.

  1. Compare energy tariffs. Energy bills are likely to be one of the biggest drains on the household budget, and that's why it's so important to make sure you're on the right tariff for your needs. If yours is about to come to an end it's vital you thoroughly compare the options, and don't always go for the big names – a lot of smaller, independent companies are making a splash in the market, and with some offering tariffs at less than £1,000 per year, it could be worth making the switch.
  1. Find a better broadband deal. Broadband is another big bill, and with seemingly constant announcements about price hikes, you may be wondering what the options are. BT is just the latest to announce an increase to its rates (average broadband bills are set to rise by up to 6.49%) so don't be afraid to switch – even if you're in the middle of your contract, you have up to 30 days from any price hike announcement to switch providers without penalty, so if you're fed up with rising prices, it could be time to see what else is out there.
  1. Be a voucher king (or queen). Being a savvy shopper can save you huge amounts of cash, and if you keep on the lookout for discounts, vouchers, loyalty points or special offers, there's no end to the possibilities! From money off the weekly shop to discounted treats, you could save a small fortune. There's no need to scour the papers for printed vouchers, either – thanks to the wonders of digital technology, you can access a fantastic range of vouchers from your very own laptop or smartphone. Check out our voucher section to get started.
  1. Get cashback when you shop. Wouldn't it be great if you could get money back every time you shop? Well, you can! Cashback credit and debit cards are growing in popularity, and while some only offer these deals at selected retailers, others give you money back from every single purchase – American Express, for example, offers 5% cashback for the first three months – so it's worth doing a bit of research to see what you can find. However, if it's a credit card, you'll need to be completely organised and pay your balance off in full each month, otherwise the interest you have to pay will negate the benefits of the cashback.
  1. Transfer to a 0% credit card. If you've already racked up a hefty credit card balance and dread getting the statement each month, it could be time to consider the benefits of a 0% balance transfer credit card instead. These cards let you transfer your previous balance (subject to status, of course) and won't charge you a penny in interest for a set period – Barclaycard currently has the longest interest-free period at a record 33 months – giving you the chance to pay off the full amount without it increasing every month. Not only could it keep your monthly repayments in check, but it'll be a great way to slash your bills in the long run, too.
  1. Shop around for insurance quotes. Every household will have various insurance policies to its name, and although it can seem a hassle, you need to make sure you've got the best price every time the renewal dates come round. If you don't shop around, you never know how much you could cut your premiums by, so don't blindly renew without giving it a second thought – whether it's for car insurance, home insurance, or even pet insurance, make sure you've got the right cover at the right price by thoroughly comparing the options.
  1. Be a savvy saver. Saving regularly may not be a way to instantly reduce your household bills, but it can certainly help you prepare for the unexpected ones. The general advice is to have around three months' salary stashed away in an emergency fund, but even if you haven't amassed that much, it could all come in handy should the need arise. Ideally you'll want to keep these emergency savings in an easy access account so you can instantly withdraw the funds should you need them, and of course, you'll need to make sure you're getting the best rate possible so your emergency fund can expand over time.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.